BLM, BIPOC and the Role of the Media
I’m not the biggest fan of the traditional media. Often they are biased to one party in a situation. Whether or not the story should be viewed that way by their readers/viewers.
And often that bias is toward power, money and influence rather than right, justice.
During this pandemic, this issue has gotten worse in many ways. They seem to be refusing to fact check, go with the current trends in reporting, and have become a mouthpiece for the govt. And their latest theory of the crisis.
Then the BLM protests came along. And the media were virtually a tool for the govt and the police. They reported the riots, the looting and the conflict. With little attention given to the history of the conflict. Like how many times a police officer draws their gun against an unarmed POC civilian. How many times specific crimes get their attention and forcefully, rather than assessing their communities and working with group leaders to come to a plan of support. (Policing at it’s best)
They report when the protests turm hostile and someone is hurt. But spend little time on the many gathered who sing, pray, take a knee or lay supine and chant “I can’t breathe”. And then go home peacefully.
They interview the angry and the hostile or the big names. Not how many local congregations/temples come out to support the cause.
They don’t often show how many people wear masks during a pandemic.
Which discourages peaceful people who empathize from coming to support them. Which turn off a lot of groups that know the feeling too from joining the cause.
And which also justifies such things as curfews and military presence, when it was getting harder and harder to get people to stay home.
We know that there are many groups in North America. It’s not homogenous. So policing needs to reflect that. By having representation (as I’ve suggested before) but also outreach plans. When something happens on a reservation, for eg, IMO they should contact the band council and have an elder and police approach the conflict and come up with a resolution and support plan with the parties involved and the police. (yes there are other groups who have this available as well – Jews, Sikhs, Moslems…).
I haven’t really seen that focus on the news, yet I know that conflicts happen in other POC communities and often go off the rails because the police force and the media use one-size-fits-all solutions. Rather than listening. And learning.
Other POC have violent interactions. But it’s rare that the media reports it, unless there is a sensational, preferably violent angle to address in their story.
In Canada, the biggest group this affects is the racist structure and history surrounding First Nations tribes. Many still live on reservations, that have few resources like clean water and adequate supply lines. There are few programs to create work and social support plans that reflect their cultural needs. The United Nations has called Canada on the carpet for this. Yet it hasn’t really changed. (Though with a pandemic on, that separation based on racism may actually be saving their lives.)
Then they get demonized for adhering to traditional hunting and fishing skills to feed their group.
It’s true the residential schools are broken down, but the Children’s Aid has taken over their separation of families. Their breakdown of language and cultural practices. And put added stress onto the community.
There is a Catholic Children’s Aid, but no efforts have been made by CAS to form a group specific to the First Nations’ needs. So a bunch of white ladies go to the community with their noses in the air and judge. And of course they find things they think are wrong (don’t fit). So they take the children from the home and put them with white foster parents. And make it seem like the bio parents are in conflict, so they get railroaded toward permanent separation.
In the failure to look at the history and context that the people are working within, and getting distressed by, the media colour and further demonize the groups who are the event focus.
Another First Nations’ example of this is the extreme number of times when First Nations’ women and girls go missing. Often First Nation groups are linked to prostitution, gambling and drugs. Whether or not this specific person was involved with that. So the media and govt don’t pay attention to the numbers rising, until along come serial killers. And they note who some of his victims were. (case of Robert and David Pickton) . But still this huge issue in Canada is rarely spoken of, let alone really dealt with. The women and girls are considered not to be human to the authorities or the media, it seems.
So it’s not just the police failing these communities, but also the govt and media. You practically have to be in the loop to be in the know. Or follow alt media. (Or as I do, have a school friend who works on a band council with her husband)
It’s the same thing with other groups. Women and LGBTQ members who are beaten and murdered aren’t really focused on as systemic issues. They’re reported as one-offs for the most part.
If violence happens in Asian communities, the events are put down to gangs. Despite the history of North America using the people as grunt workers for the railroads and restricting their ability to grow their own businesses to things like Asian restaurants and drycleaners. And for the conflicts with the countries involved (ie Japan, Korean, Viet Nam) treated as the enemy, whether or not that person is or ever will be.
Which may explain Justin Trudeau’s hesitance to condemn another country’s leadership. He knows the issue of racism is prevalent in Canada as well. And currently power and policing aren’t even willing to deal with it, let alone solve it. Though there are some token officers and MPs to show off for the press. And the media falls for it.
The poor of Canada are far more often the brown skinned people, the POC, the single women/parents, the disabled and LGBTQ. (power’s misfits which I wrote about yesterday) .
This history and understanding explain why so many Canadians empathize with the Black Lives Matter movement in the USA. Why so many cities in Canada are protesting as well.
It’s here too. Though our PM is at least cognizant enough to realize it. So maybe there is hope? At least in Canada, though I did note that a few world leaders were saying the same thing.
Is this awareness a sign that we are ready for systemic changes though? It’d be great if it was. But for every potential fix, there are groups of people affected and reluctant to change the status quo. People who pay more in taxes. I think that means that, even when the pandemic is forcing systemic changes, it won’t be now either. Sad to say.
Though I may be wrong, because Canada at least gets it’s a mosaic made of many people and the people here aren’t looking for homogeneity. And as far as slavery in Canada goes, it didn’t take a civil war here to abolish that either. So maybe we can? Time will tell.